|When we think of important Chinese inventions, the first things that come to mind are: gunpowder, paper, and the compass discussed in the travels of Marco Polo. Marco Polo encountered the Chinese culture for the first time during the Yuan dynasty (between the years 1271 and 1368 A.D.) when China was under the rule of the great Mongol leader Kublai Khan. In fact, the Yuan dynasty was only one of twenty dynasties in the long history of China that dates back to before 2070 B.C.
In the long history of China, there are repeating motifs of rising dynasties and their downfalls. As one dynasty falls, a new dynasty succeeds it in cycles of growth and decline.
Chinese Dynasty Timeline
|| 1600-1046 B.C.
|Spring and Autumn period
|| 772-476 B.C
|Warring State period
|| 206 B.C -220 A.D
|| 265-420 A.D
|Southern and Northern dynasty
|| 618-907 A.D
|| 916-1125 A.D
|| 1368-1644 A.D
The imperial history of China with stories of palace intrigues and dramatic battles of wit has inspired scholars and writers for centuries and often finds a place in many’s imagination. But beyond the rich stories, these Chinese dynasties also left important cultural legacies that continue to shape the world.
Thoughts and Philosophies
One of the most important contributions comes in the form of philosophies that blossomed in the Zhou dynasty early in Chinese history. Among the growing philosophies are: Confucianism founded by Confucius, Taoism founded by Laozi, Mohism founded by Mozi, and Legalism founded by Mencius.
Confucianism is a school of thought that emphasizes virtue and moral perfection. It has a complex system of social, moral, political, quasi-religion and philosophical teachings. Confucianism had an important impact on the history of China as many scholars were expected to learn Confucian teachings by heart. And a well-bred gentleman was judged based on his understanding of Confucius’s teachings. The influence of Confucianism extends beyond China into neighboring Asian countries. Confucianism held sway in Japan, Korea, Vietnam in the past and continues to influence Asian thought.
Taoism, also known as Daoism, was founded by Laozi and had been an important philosophical thought that influenced Asia and the West. The word Tao can be translated into: “the way”, and its teaching focuses on harmony between the practitioner and the wider universe. Its teaching emphasizes balance, peace, nature, emptiness, adaptability, and relativism, that many find useful in today’s constantly changing world rife with conflicts.
Both Confucianism and Taoism have great prominence in history and today’s world, and they are humanistic teachings that preach harmony and balance
Be sure to return to Mrs. Lin's Kitchen for next month's newsletter for Part II. You will learn more about the arts and crafts associated with chinese culture and how it continues to be in high demand today.
|| OUR 2010 NEWSLETTERS
The legacy of Chinese Dynasties Part I
Tengu, Hyottoko, Tanuki and Other Popular Japanese Folklore Figures
East Asian Writing: Their beauty and their history
Calligraphy & Sumi-e
The Bento Box
Japanese Woodblock Printing
Magical Meaning of Cranes
Chinese Chop Seal & Ink
Japanese Furoshiki and Noren
The Magnificent of Mount Fuji
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White Glass Ming Dynasty Platter (10797)
Modern Sung Dynasty Tea Set for Two (T1895)